One of the perks of being an at-home mama is the potential for all-day play. Your nearly-one-year-old is a playtime expert, but he’ll love a few new games – remember to make them your own!
Check out some ideas below, inspired by Let’s Play and Learn Together by Roni Cohen Leiderman, Ph.D. and Wendy S. Masi, Ph.D.
1. Baby fetch
Now that baby can identify a few objects, send her on a mission – “Where are your shoes?” It can even be as simple as “Where is Mommy?”
Keep it simple at first, but challenge her awareness. Have fun with it!
2. American Baby Gladiator
Set up a miniature obstacle course in your living room with couch cushions, stuffed animals, cardboard boxes, and other safe items. Let baby loose to climb, roll, crawl, or walk over it, whatever he wants. Conduct a detailed play-by-play of the action, “Wow, now he’s lifting the pillow over his head and tossing it to the side. What confidence!”
3. Shadow games
The next time you take a walk, be sure to point out your shadows. At the park, find a wall and make shadow puppets with your hands and encourage your little one to make shadows, too. At home, go into a darkened room (not completely dark, don’t want to scare baby!) with a flashlight and have a ton of shadow fun. Point out the outline of your hand, wiggle your fingers, and even do a silly dance.
4. Play with a friend
This is a great time to set up play dates because one-year-olds are just starting to really learn to play with others. They’re not quite ready to initiate and maintain play on their own, but either way it’s a good excuse to have some adult time with the kids as buffers.
5. Encyclopedia of Me
Compile your favorite photos from your first year together and put together an anthology. Laminate the pages so it’s toddler-safe and read it together every day. This is a fun way to revisit cherished memories and a convenient vessel for family photos and baby’s favorite things. Take it along when you have to wait at the doctor’s office, a long car ride, and everywhere else!